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  • Larry Gregory

Writing Compelling Win Wires

Win wires are partner-confidential summaries of influential customer deals. They serve as a valuable tool in alliance relationships, providing examples of sales success and accelerating joint business development. They apply to any alliance-channel partner relationship but I’ll describe the process in context of Microsoft due to their partner co-sell focus and momentum.

Inventory Your Customer Wins

Begin by considering what recent wins you’ve closed that would appeal to your alliance partner. Look for wins with a meaningful deal size (at least $25K) in enterprise or upper mid-market customers (where Microsoft has account team coverage).

The stories should include a co-sell element, where Microsoft played a role in your sales success. You can produce win wires without that co-sell story line, but it is much better to showcase how you are working together as a team.

You will want to represent all the industries that you play in. Align with Microsoft industry terminology as appropriate (Government, Education, Healthcare, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Retail, Media, and Automotive).

Also seek stories to represent each region where you have a local sales presence. For example, Microsoft US is organized as Northwest, Southwest, North Central, South Central, Great Lakes, Northeast, New York, and Southeast.

Lastly, consider how you are showcasing each of your top product or service offerings. Plug the data into a spreadsheet and you can keep track of how well you are representing product wins across Microsoft industry and regional stakeholders.

Develop the Story

Microsoft provides an online form for globally managed partners to submit win wires, but every managed partner should generate win wires on their own. These can be in a Word or PowerPoint format. PowerPoint is easier for inclusion in Microsoft-facing presentations.

The ingredients for a win wire are below, but key to a successful outcome is using a “Microsoft voice”: write succinctly in terms that resonate with Microsoft teams.

Summarize the customer situation

In a couple sentences, represent the customer industry, size, and offerings. Company LinkedIn profiles and About Us website pages are good sources for this information.

Represent the customer problem that triggered their search for a solution. Align with Microsoft solution map terminology when describing the scenario. Be sure to highlight any competitive products that represented a customer concern. Microsoft likes competitive displacement stories.

Describe the sales process

Where did the lead originate from? This is an opportunity to showcase your marketing engine. Also identify if the lead was sourced by Microsoft (a behavior you want to encourage).

Who did you compete against? If it is a competitor that uses a non-Microsoft platform, be sure to call that out. If the competition is with another Microsoft partner, decide if you have a regular pattern of winning against that partner and want to show that you are the better Microsoft co-sell partner in your space.

What was required to win? Describe the sales process including if an RFP response or pilot/POC was required. If your end to end sales cycle is less than 6 months, be sure to call that out as it shows Microsoft sellers can invest in the co-sell relationship midstream in their fiscal year and still realize the quota recognition benefit in that year’s sales incentive check.

What other partners were involved? Demonstrate your ability to scale through channel partners. Microsoft wants partners to work together (a core purpose of the Microsoft Partner Network).

Why were you selected by the customer? This is a chance to tout your unique product features, superior sales process, and/or deep Microsoft technology integration.

How did Microsoft help advance the deal? Identify if Microsoft sourced the lead, helped overcome customer technical objections, provided strategic insight into the customer needs, or otherwise championed you to the customer.

What insights or best practices can you highlight? Microsoft is a learning organization so if there is a bit of insight to share on how you worked with Microsoft or other partners, be sure to surface it.

Who from Microsoft was involved? Identify the roles that helped you on the co-sell journey (e.g., ECM, AE, ATS, SSP, TSP, ISE – see the Microsoft Acronyms for Partners if needed). Recognize (by name) those Microsoft people that were influential.

Represent the customer benefits

What benefits were realized by the customer? Quantitative results are better than “improved productivity” types of statements. It is okay to represent forecasted $ savings or % improvements. Most projects should have some kind of expected return or benefit (revisit the customer problem statement if unclear).

If possible, include a customer satisfaction statement as a quote. This can be difficult for confidential win wires, but Microsoft loves to see evidence of customer satisfaction.

Define the Microsoft co-sell benefit

Quantify the value to the Microsoft. You can easily represent Azure pull-through if you are a co-sell partner. You can further highlight expected actual Azure consumption if your solution runs in the customer’s Azure subscription. If you are a SaaS provider, you can represent the Azure consumption the customer represents to you internally.

Add the finishing touches

Create a compelling headline for the win wire that uses Microsoft terminology (e.g. from industry or solution maps) and include a footer that highlights the document as confidential.

Taking Action

The initial win wire draft can be formed from an internal CRM record and/or email summary. You then need about 15 minutes with the internal seller to validate the story and fill in the gaps. Lastly, run the draft win wire by the Microsoft account team so they can identify things they did to advance the sale. Internal sellers tend not to make note of Microsoft co-sell contributions, but this is an important part of the story and helps raise your profile with the Microsoft account team.

Once you’ve gathered all the feedback, use the resulting win wire in Microsoft-internal meetings to evangelize the success of co-selling with your company. Also ask your partner manager (PDM or PMA) to socialize the win wire internally within Microsoft. Post win wires in OCP Catalog for further Microsoft discovery.

Writing win wires sometimes doesn’t get the attention it deserves because it requires in-depth knowledge of Microsoft priorities and terminology. Competegy offloads this task with win wire writing services. Contact Competegy to learn more.

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